Angry Robot Books has landed "a magical" Afro-futuristic novel from author Denise Crittendon, as its first signing through the Black Voices Matter Open submission period for Black authors without agent representation.
Gemma Creffield, managing editor, acquired world English rights for Where it Rains in Colour in a deal direct from the author.
The publisher said: "Driven by wonderful characters transported into an Afro-futuristic world, Where it Rains in Colour infuses romance, mystery and the mythology of the Dogon tribe of Mali, West Africa. Significantly inspired by her time in Zimbabwe, Crittendon questions and plays with universal beauty standards, and challenges the structure and system in which they live." It was also dubbed as "a magical African mythological retelling" by the indie publisher.
It is Angry Robot Books' first acquisition through its Black Voices Matter Open submission initiative. This was launched as an open submissions programme for sci-fi and fantasy novels by Black authors in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. It was originally meant to run from July to September 2020, but last year the publisher announced it would be extended indefinitely. It is open to finished works of 60,000-plus words that fall in to the science fiction and fantasy category, from Black writers who don't have agented representation. The publisher said it aims to reply to and provide feedback for every submission they receive within three months of receipt.
Crittendon said: “Where it Rains in Colour flips standards of beauty and elevates Africa, African culture and what it means to be Black. This is deliberate. I wrote it because I wanted to celebrate melanin, explore ancestral spirituality and project people of African descent into a future that doesn’t strip us of our innate majesty. The inhabitants of my futuristic Black planet are powerful, beautiful, technological geniuses far removed from the misery of the past. I’m so pleased that Angry Robot Books understood my vision and made a decision to share it with the world.”
Creffield added: "I was so excited to receive Denise's submission in our Black Voices Matter inbox. I knew I was going to love this book after reading the title, and I was not disappointed. The world that Denise has created in this novel is vivid, wondrous and captivating. It's a true delight.”
Crittendon has since signed with Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literary, who said: "I have been looking for the right Afro-futuristic novel for several years. Denise's novel hits the mark with her beautiful imagining of a future in which Black people manifest their highest ideals. I'm really grateful to be a part of this project, and love that Angry Robot really gets Denise's vision."